Shane Lowry moved up from 53rd to tied 20th at the halfway stage of the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan.
Overnight leader Kenichi Kuboya of Japan birdied the 18th for a 70 and a share of the lead with countrymen Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Yudai Maeda on seven under par.
"The birdie on the last hole is enough for me. I'm going to play under par in the remaining two rounds," Kuboya said
Challenge Tour winner Edoardo Molinari of Italy shot a 66 to share of fourth place with Japan's Ryuichi Oda on six under par.
Reigining European No 1 Robert Karlsson, who like Lowry failed to qualify for the Dubai World Championship, is three off the pace in tied seventh after a 68.
Three-time major winner Vijay Singh of Fiji shot a 71 to share 30th on 142 with defending champion Prayad Marksaeng and New Zealand's David Smail.